Everyone’s journey is different, so I thought it was fitting to share my own story to start off my blog.
Let me start off by saying that I am an extreme perfectionist. I remember staying up till midnight as a fourth grader rewriting my math homework until it looked perfect. In some ways, this attribute is a blessing; I didn’t need other people to push me to try harder, but on the other hand, it is also a curse since this is what led me into my eating disorder.
My earliest memories of disordered thoughts began in 6th grade. That school year started like any other. I made new friends, had a hearty appetite, and enjoyed doing gymnastics. As the year progressed, I became tougher on myself. I needed to get the highest grades in my classes and have perfect gymnastics practices every day. In reality, this utopian world could never exist.
It got to the point where I was constantly fighting with my siblings and parents and having bad days at practice. I cried myself to sleep every night and felt like a failure. I needed to get a handle on my life and pull myself back together. Hence, when the calorie counting began.
I felt so hopeless and forgotten, so I decided that I might as well be thin. After all, I am in a tight leotard all day for gymnastics. At first, I did not make any changes to my intake. I just simply logged what I ate, which included lots of waffles, pancakes, mac and cheese, and pizza. Then, as I had more bad days I began to cut out foods here and there. I was hungry all the time and decided to take a different approach. So instead of skipping meals, I changed the foods I ate. Over time I replaced my typical foods with low calorie versions and swapped my snacks with fruits and veggies. More bad days came and went and I began replacing dinner with crying sessions.
By the time 7th grade came around, my eating habits started to take a toll on my body. I was freezing cold all the time. My veins popped out of my arms. I had meltdowns at gymnastics everyday. I was exhausted. My mind was constantly thinking about food and how I can avoid eating desserts and family meals. I began isolating myself and eventually lost all my friends.
The following year, I got sick with a stomach virus. Due to my sickness, I was not able to compete at my gymnastics state meet so my coaches decided to petition me to regionals. To do so, I needed to go to my doctor to get a letter saying why I was unable to compete. At my appointment, they took my weight and I was severely underweight. My doctor brushed off the idea of an eating disorder however and recommended I see a list of other doctors related to hormones.
At that point, I discovered the eating disorder community on Instagram and decided to make my own account. I got a tremendous amount of support from everyone. One account in particular reached out to me and encouraged me to get outside help. At first I was reluctant. I told myself I could eat junk food whenever I wanted, but I soon learned that it was easier said than done.
That summer I decided to talk to my mom about my problem. However, I chickened out every time the opportunity came around. I ended up sending her a long text telling her that I have a problem and need help. When she read my text, she came to my room and we hugged and talked and cried together.
After searching for weeks my mom found a therapist that was nearby and reasonably priced since our insurance neglected to pay for any mental health services. My therapist also advised me to seek help from a nutritionist who I began weekly sessions with as well not long after.
Since then I have been working with my support team to gradually regain my old self again. Of corse, I have had my fair share of setbacks, but I hope to share what I have learned from my struggles to inspire and help those around me.